With the talk lately about Judge Luttig's departure from the Fourth Circuit, the anonymous author of HOWT has this post saying that being an appellate judge is a pretty good deal, despite the "low" pay.
He (or maybe she) says in part:
"First, I really enjoy the intellectual stimulation of wrestling with the finer points of the law. Second, I enjoy writing and I find a lot of satisfaction in crafting an opinion that resolves the legal issues between the parties and provides future guidance to the bench and bar. Finally, there are some great quality of life benefits in that you don't have to worry about clients or billable hours and because the job is 90% reading and 10% writing, you can do it anywhere and anytime. This means that the hours are pretty flexible and as long as you have the discipline to keep up with the work flow, I can go to my kids' sporting events, parent-teacher conferences and all those other things I missed before I went on the bench."